What is patellar tendonosis, and what's the deal with tendonITIS?
Patellar tendonosis, also known as “jumper’s knee”, is commonly seen in people who engage in activity requiring jumping and landing. It is due to overuse and microtrauma of the patellar tendon that leads to degeneration. The patellar tendon connects the quadriceps muscles to the tibia, allowing the quads to function as a knee extender. In patellar tendonosis the problems typically manifests where the tendon is in contact with the inferior pole of the patella. When there is decreased flexibility in the quads and muscle imbalances of the legs there is more stress on the anterior knee and the patellar tendon is forced to absorb more of the impact from activity, which causes its degeneration.
Patellar tendinosis is NOT tendonitis; it is not an acute inflammation of the tendon, it is a long standing, chronic change of the tendon. Tendons throughout the body can degenerate without any inflammation due to chronic irritation. The first stage of patellar tendonosis is a reactive tendinopathy caused by excess tendon loading. If it progresses the tendon begins to change from its normal properties and the matrix of the tendon becomes disorganized. The final stage is a degenerative tendinopathy where the ability of the tendon to repair itself is is almost impossible. Throughout the degeneration of the tendon there is never actually inflammation, so it is not consider an inflammatory condition-it is not tendonitis.
What about physical therapy?
Physical therapy is effective at reducing the pain associated with patellar tendonosis and treating the dysfunctions associated with the condition. Flexibility, range of motion, strength, motor control and manual therapy are utilized to treat patellar tendonosis. We will work with you to improve your hip control and strength as well as balancing muscular strength for functional patterns and proper activation with movement. It is important to treat this condition early as the longer you wait the more degeneration your tendon will experience. It is possible that if patellar tendonosis advances too far there will be permanent changes to the tendon that will cause long term problems. Let the physical therapists at F.I.T. work with you to treat your knee pain!
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The doctors at F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic in Overland Park & Shawnee, Kansas and Lees Summit, Missouri are here to help lessen and relieve your pain. Do not hesitate; contact us today for leading evidence-based assessments and treatments for your musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction.